About this series

Day one
April 22, 2001

Main story: Movement's prosperity comes at a high price

Sidebar: Rare rodent likely extinct

Sidebar: A century of environmentalism

Graphic: Giving to the environment

Graphic: Executive salaries (Requires Acrobat Reader)

Graphic: The greening of the environmental movement (Requires Acrobat Reader)

(Download free Acrobat Reader)

Photo gallery

Day two
April 23, 2001

Main story: Mission adrift in a frenzy of fund raising

Graphic: Philanthropic report card

Graphic: Fund raising fact and fancy -- Otters

Graphic: Fund raising fact and fancy -- Whales

Graphic: Fund raising fact and fancy -- Wolves

Graphic: Fund-raising effectiveness

Photo gallery

Editorial: How to be green

Day three
April 24, 2001

Main story: A flood of costly lawsuits raises questions about motive

Graphic: The cost of environmental litigation

Photo gallery

Day four
April 25, 2001

Main story: Spin on science puts national treasure at risk

Graphic: Growing Southwest forest fires

Graphic: Fire country

Photo gallery

Day five
April 26, 2001

Main story: Solutions sprouting from grass-roots efforts

Graphic: Endangered nation

Photo gallery



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Related report: Mission adrift in a frenzy of fund raising


Sacramento Bee / Scott Flodin

Fund raising: fact and fancy

More than 160 million environmental fund-raising pitches swirled through the U.S. mail last year. Some used the power of cute animals to attract donors. The problem is that in many cases those campaigns were less than honest.

Pitch: California sea otter

"We're facing a monumental challenge. The Marine Mammal Commission 'blueprint' on how to save California's sea otters says there's no hope for a solution unless a crucial question can be answered: what role is toxic contamination playing in the terrifying plunge in the otter population."

-- The Otter Project, fund-raising solicitation


The Marine Mammal Commission document is not a blueprint but a "discussion draft." It suggests several possible actions to help protect otters, including monitoring gill nets for otter mortality, developing otter-proof lobster pots and fish traps and field studies.

Source: Marine Mammal Commission


Focusing on otters overlooks other compelling -- but less glamorous -- marine ecological plights. The bocaccio, a once-abundant rockfish, is considered "critically endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. White abalone numbers have declined so steeply the species has been proposed for listing on the federal endangered species list.

Source: International Union for the Conservation of Nature; U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.